It's still true that Ulster's strongest and deepest position is their back three, with three of them away on Ireland duty over summer, another an injured British & Irish Lion, and two underage prospects who have the ability to become first team regulars over the course of the upcoming season among their ranks.
And yet, somehow, Piutau adds onto that and then some.
His outrageous offload stole all the headlines on Friday night, and possibly my most excited Tweet of the game, but it was just the cherry on top of the outstanding performance that the New Zealander put on display at the Kingspan Stadium against the Saints.
You struggle to find a flaw with his game. He's quick. He's powerful. His handling is exceptional. His tackle-breaking ability is unbelievable. On one occasion he was even required to clear the ball and he managed to hammer it from his own five metre line to halfway.
He's been coy in the build-up to the season, running out the usual media-friendly lines of "I'll just be happy to be named in the squad." But, while it's true that there is an abundance of back three talent at Ulster, there is no doubt whatsoever that Piutau will be one of the first names on the teamsheet, whether he plays at full-back or on the wing.
Friday night confirmed it. He's the marquee signing in the Pro12 season (and would be by some distance had Ulster not also signed Marcell Coetzee) and his club will expect him to perform like he did last week on a regular basis.
Should he do so, then things may be looking up for Ulster this year, especially after so many years of May heartbreak.
But he's not the only reason that Les Kiss, and Ulster fans, should be getting excited about the upcoming season. If pre-season is a true indication of what's to come then it seems to suggest that some of Ulster's glaring weaknesses have been addressed.
Take the starting tighthead slot as an example. Since John Afoa's departure, nobody has convincingly nailed that shirt down, with Wiehahn Herbst showing glimpses of promise between spells on the treatment table.
But in has arrived Rodney Ah You, a much-maligned prop in his time at Connacht, who has started his spell at Ulster with real determination. His scrummaging, a glaring weakness out west, appears to have been improved since his arrival without any detriment to his ball carrying strengths.
Ah You is a prop with a very high ceiling. He was always someone who could be a very dynamic player should he be able to marry his powerful physical presence with some set piece nuance. If Ulster have indeed solved that problem, they could have the prop that Rory Best raved about in the off-season.
Brett Herron also has arrived with a lot of potential, and it seems the former Bath prodigy could answer Ulster's question as to who will back up Paddy Jackson when he's away on international duty.
He hasn't set the world alight, no, but alongside either Pienaar or Marshall at half-back, the 20-year old has proven he can already do a job as the back line playmaker, with his inch-perfect pass to Piutau for his try against the Saints almost as good as the full back's offload.
So long a problem area for Ulster, Herron looks like he may be the person to solve it.
Elsewhere the maul, so many times last season a source of tries, appears to be in rude health once more if the friendly against the Saints is anything to go by. And the scrum looks solid enough too, if not the preferred dominant.
Now the challenge is to carry that Northampton performance into the Dragons.
It should be a five pointer for Ulster. Theoretically it should be a comfortable five pointer that will put Les Kiss' charges up near (if not at) the top of the table after round one with a confidence booster to take to Treviso next weekend.
Then again, the Dragons have never been ones to adhere to the form books, nor to the so-called hierarchy of teams. Such was the close nature of the two games last season, one would be forgiven for believing they were two teams competing at the top of the table, not 4th vs. 10th.
But a Piutau-backed Ulster should not be in any position to be challenged by the men of Gwent. They may find the going just a little harder than what they did against Northampton, but ideally this is a perfect start for the Ulstermen.
All that's left is for them to prove that.